Back practicing, Bears’ Roquan Smith ‘optimistic’ he can play against Packers

SHARE Back practicing, Bears’ Roquan Smith ‘optimistic’ he can play against Packers
bears_preview_football_78280067_e1536183018717.jpg

Bears linebacker Roquan Smith takes part in drills during a joint NFL football training camp session at Broncos’ headquarters in Englewood, Colo. | David Zalubowski, AP photo

Twenty days after he first felt tightness in his left hamstring, rookie linebacker Roquan Smith was back to being a full participant in Bears practice Wednesday. It seems unlikely he’ll start the season opener Sunday against the Packers, but Smith claimed not even to know how much he’ll play.

‘‘I have no clue,’’ he said.

Will he play at all?

‘‘I’m a little optimistic,’’ Smith said. ‘‘I’m pretty sure. I know coach [Matt] Nagy knows what’s best for me and when I’ll get out there.’’

The Bears figure to use him in a customized role.

Smith said his hamstring ‘‘definitely feels a lot better and looser’’ than it did in the Bears’ second joint practice last month with the Broncos, when he first felt a twinge of pain. Nagy revealed the injury dated to three days after Smith signed his contract following a monthlong standoff.

RELATED

Arrival of Khalil Mack brings even more expectations for Mitch Trubisky

Why it’s on Mitch Trubisky to change Bears’ rivalry with Aaron Rodgers, Packers

Nagy said it wasn’t unusual for Smith still to be dealing with the injury almost three weeks later.

‘‘He would have probably tried to get out there a little bit sooner if he could,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘But that’s our job. We get paid to make sure that we make these decisions. I did not want to put him in a position to where he comes out and plays in the Buffalo [preseason] game or the game before that, where he does something and now we don’t have him for this week. I just wanted to be real careful about that.’’

Even healthy, Smith has to make adjustments after missing virtually the entire preseason because of the contract standoff and hamstring

problem.

He said the Bears’ defensive scheme is similar enough to the one he played in at Georgia that he feels comfortable. Tackling for the first time since January might be another story.

‘‘I just think back to all the fundamentals,’’ Smith said. ‘‘You know, just wrap up when you tackle, not [bumping] guys or anything like that. Bring your arms, your hips and different things like that.’’

The Latest
As the results came in, Miller’s supporters filled a ballroom at a hotel here for her election-night party, sharing stories about driving voters to the polls — and talking about the heat their candidate has faced in social media since her “white life” gaffe.
A jubilant crowd greeted Ramirez, 39, chanting her name as she entered her election party Tuesday. Supporters had created a salsa song they blasted outside a polling place Tuesday: “Delia, she’s ready,” goes the song, “ready to interrupt the corruption.”
Brady, a 21-year General Assembly veteran and deputy minority leader, has promised to modernize the secretary of state’s office.